[verb uh-sim-uh-leyt; noun uh-sim-uh-lit, -leyt]
See more synonyms for assimilate on
verb (used with object), as·sim·i·lat·ed, as·sim·i·lat·ing.
  1. to take in and incorporate as one's own; absorb: He assimilated many new experiences on his European trip.
  2. to bring into conformity with the customs, attitudes, etc., of a group, nation, or the like; adapt or adjust: to assimilate the new immigrants.
  3. Physiology. to convert (food) to substances suitable for incorporation into the body and its tissues.
  4. to cause to resemble (usually followed by to or with).
  5. to compare; liken (usually followed by to or with).
  6. Phonetics. to modify by assimilation.
verb (used without object), as·sim·i·lat·ed, as·sim·i·lat·ing.
  1. to be or become absorbed.
  2. to conform or adjust to the customs, attitudes, etc., of a group, nation, or the like: The new arrivals assimilated easily and quickly.
  3. Physiology. (of food) to be converted into the substance of the body; be absorbed into the system.
  4. to bear a resemblance (usually followed by to or with).
  5. Phonetics. to become modified by assimilation.
  1. something that is assimilated.

Origin of assimilate

1570–80; < Latin assimilātus likened to, made like (past participle of assimilāre), equivalent to as- as- + simil- (see similar) + -ātus -ate1
Related formsas·sim·i·la·tor, nounnon·as·sim·i·lat·ing, adjectivere·as·sim·i·late, verb, re·as·sim·i·lat·ed, re·as·sim·i·lat·ing.un·as·sim·i·lat·ed, adjectiveun·as·sim·i·lat·ing, adjectivewell-as·sim·i·lat·ed, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for assimilating

Contemporary Examples of assimilating

  • Despite the 21 years I did in prison for a drug conviction, I am assimilating back into mainstream or, dare I say, white America.

    The Daily Beast logo
    Ferguson Tensions in Black and White

    Seth Ferranti

    November 21, 2014

  • There are no easy solutions to assimilating refugees into a solid culture.

    The Daily Beast logo
    The Ugly Side of Sweden

    Janine di Giovanni

    July 17, 2013

Historical Examples of assimilating

British Dictionary definitions for assimilating


  1. (tr) to learn (information, a procedure, etc) and understand it thoroughly
  2. (tr) to absorb (food) and incorporate it into the body tissues
  3. (intr) to become absorbed, incorporated, or learned and understood
  4. (usually foll by into or with) to bring or come into harmony; adjust or become adjustedthe new immigrants assimilated easily
  5. (usually foll by to or with) to become or cause to become similar
  6. (usually foll by to) phonetics to change (a consonant) or (of a consonant) to be changed into another under the influence of one adjacent to it(n) often assimilates to ŋ before (k), as in ``include''
Derived Formsassimilable, adjectiveassimilably, adverbassimilation, nounassimilative or assimilatory, adjectiveassimilator, nounassimilatively, adverb

Word Origin for assimilate

C15: from Latin assimilāre to make one thing like another, from similis like, similar
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for assimilating



early 15c., from Latin assimilatus "feigned, pretended, fictitious," past participle of assimilare "to make like," from ad- "to" (see ad-) + simulare "make similar," from similis "like, resembling" (see similar). Originally transitive (with to); intransitive use first recorded 1837. Related: Assimilated; assimilating.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

assimilating in Medicine


  1. To consume and incorporate nutrients into the body after digestion.
  2. To transform food into living tissue by the process of anabolism.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.